Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Female figure on rust dyed fabric.

Details of sphagnum moss and female form.

Materials: Rust-dyed cotton, commercial orange/black velvet and net fabric, fussy cut fern fronds and sphagnum moss, free motion stitching. The blue/grey pieces are tannin dyed gauze.

Image: A female figure, holding her arms above her head. Her torso is coming out of ferns and moss. The blue/grey gauze represents the pall of depression falling away, emerging into the light of day, new growth and inspiration.

This is unfinished. I intend to use bugle beads to make a face, and perhaps some hand stitching.

Auckland Anniversary Weekend 23-27 January 2009

Our plans to leave Auckland late afternoon on Friday to get to Katikati were complicated after David was caught up in gridlocked traffic. Police had closed the North-western Motorway after a man that had snatched a bag in Glen Eden fired shots, took off in a stolen car, and eventually tried to hijack a van on the motorway. The Armed Offenders Squad shot and killed the van driver by accident, but did catch the crim.

In the end we met up at my parents house, leaving his car there, and I drove my car down to Katikati to surprise Becca, who’d spent the last week with the Grandparents.

We went via Waihi, and once we’d had some rather good Chinese takeaways, stopped to have a look at the Martha Hill (hole) open-cast gold mine. An enormous hole in the earth, there was a group of diggers that were dwarfed by the depth.

Becca was absolutely thrilled that we arrived on Friday night, instead of Saturday, but was disappointed that we wouldn’t be going home till Sunday afternoon. She’d enjoyed the stay, trips to the beach, petting zoos, Karangahake Gorge and getting some good books from the library, but was ready to go home, and have life return to normal.

One of the main reasons for leaving on Friday evening, other than to miss the worst of the holiday traffic, was that I’d arrange to meet some ladies who are members of the Rust Dyeing and Alternative Quilt List groups I belong to, to talk about rust dyeing. On Saturday morning I drove to Thompsons Track Road, which was once considered as an alternative route over the Kaimai Ranges, to find Barbara Hilford’s place, where we were supposed to meet. Being me, I decided to drive to the end of the road. It ended in a beautiful stand of ancient Puriri trees, tho the track carries on into the forest. I didn’t have time to do more that chill out in the peace and calm of ancient forest.

Barbara, Deryn Pittar (the lady I’d been communicating with), and Beryl (an Art Teacher and artist) weren’t expecting me till nearly 11.00, so they were sitting having morning tea on the verandah of a beautiful white stucco two story house, with amazing views of Mt Maunganui and Tauranga, when I arrived just after 10.00. These three women have obviously known each other a long time.

After some lovely scrummy shortbread, and a glass of cold water, we went thru to Barbara’s workroom, where she showed us some of the projects she’s working on, including a piece that Deryn re-named Rusty Rivers, and a beautiful black tree on hand-dyed red-orange-yellow silk with echo quilting.

Deryn showed us her rust and tannin dyed fabrics, and gave each of us a small container of Sulphate of Iron, a pack of Tannin, and a rust/tannin dyed silk scarf. She has achieved some amazing deep-indigo patterns, and demonstrated how to do this after lunch.

Beryl showed us a landscape about 20cm sq, that she had woven from a photo of Clyde, framed by roofing iron.

The rest of the weekend was spent completing the setup of the inlaw’s new computer. It was great to get home on Sunday afternoon, tho the dogs were completely neurotic after spending the weekend at my parents, with their new dog, who seems to have bullied them constantly.

(Happy birthday to me!) – bathed 2 stinky dogs, 3 loads of washing, shopping, and spent 20 minutes waiting at a counter at Spotlight for a woman with no available credit on 3 different cards to give up and go away. She eventually had her friend pay for her purchase.

Deryn made the following comments on the “Emergence” piece I’m working on: ‘I like the flow of your emergence but couldn't pick out the face so didn't click that it was a woman. Yes, a little bit "fussy" but that could just be the cataract in my one eye. I always avoid faces. Can't do them at all. However, I like the idea. Can you perhaps put hands on the end of the arms and have them grasp something? Or put more at the bottom of the piece so it is heavier at the bottom to balance what you are doing at the top. The bits sewn onto the sides could be removed. All in all I like your idea and as I said - couldn't pick out the face so missed the idea of a woman completely, till you pointed it out.‘

I’ve followed some of her suggestions, but now added other bits to the sides, and am not sure if they work. I had a Plan A for a face, which was to print my face, cover it with Gel Medium, peel off the backing, then adhere it to an acrylic button. Unfortunately it didn’t work with an ink-jet print. Plan B is to use some bugle beads to make a “face”.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Jumping in the deep end

with Goldilocks – TAG Teams 1 & 2.

TAG-2 isn’t so scary – I’ve had Susan Stein’s “Fabric Art Workbook” for a while, and although I’ve looked thru it, hadn’t actually got around to trying anything in it. I’ve been having problems locating most of the supplies, and haven’t heard back from most of the on-line companies I emailed queries to. I’ve received the Dye-Na-flow, Lumiere and Neopaque from Tillia, which is a start. Waiting, waiting, waiting. But I’ve got till early February, hooray!

TAG Team 1 is definitely more scary. When I saw the schedule for the book “Color & Composition” by Katie Masopust, which starts on 15 January – a Thursday for goodness sake! my heart leapt into my throat. I’m still waiting for the book, which was ordered from on 25 December. This one might actually involve hard work, where the other one looks like just plain fun!

This is what the first 8 weeks looks like: Contour Drawing, Contour Cutting & Stitching; Line & Shape; Value and Colour, Monochromatic & Achromatic Colour Schemes; Analogous Colour Scheme, Warm or Cool Colour Scheme.

I’m taking Friday off, having spent the week catching up at work. I’m hoping to spend the weekend working on my 2009 Intentions Challenge Quilt for AlternativeQuiltList, but the HP Inkjet isn’t working well – it hasn’t been used in a while, and won’t clean the print heads properly – I think the cartridges have dried out. So I couldn’t print out my forest stream tonight – having spent last night preparing some PFD silk. Might have to go and buy NEW cartridges, rather than recycled ones!

At some stage I also need to think about the two postcards for Feb/March, and possibly a third one for a kid with brain cancer in the States. Here's the link. I'm thinking classic Kiwi summer - bush, beach, birds (of the feathered variety).

I’ve ordered the book “Taming Your Gremlins” by Rick Carson from Fishpond – the depression demons are gnawing away at me, and I’ve decided I have to DO something, not just feel miserable, or burst into tears when someone (DH) makes me feel stupid. Starting reading Vein of Gold, but the morning pages are SUCH a bummer - I want to be creating, not writing!

Teri Springer recommends Twila Tharp's book "The Creative Habit"and Alyson Stanfield's "I'd Rather Be in the Studio" as being much more helpful. Have to do a search for them.

Tomorrow is hopefully a trip to Karekare first thing in the morning, before it gets too hot. Just me, Becca and the dogs, and back for lunch.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Rust Dyes

I found some lovely, soft, low-loft cotton batting in my stash - and of course wondered how it would dye.
The rust is from a hanging basket that's been happily rusting outside for the last couple of years - I peeled the last of the plastic coating off earlier this week.

After soaking the fabric in water and white vinegar, I pegged it around the basket, wrapped it in black plastic, and then literally forgot it for a few days. When I unwrapped it, I found the base was sitting in a puddle of rusty water, which explains the circle.

Once it was washed, I used a teabag of Bell tea - which turned out to be a horrid powder, rather than leaves, to make the blue-grey semi-circles on the second image, and some decaf Moccona to make lighter blue spots on the first image, which is the other end of the fabric.

I like the bluey-grey colour that resulted.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Fabric Bowl

Bowl Base with flash, bowl sides without flash!

Well, Christmas and New Year are over for another year. Bah Humbug.

This bowl was inspired by a blogsite I came across while following other links (as you do!).

I couldn't find instructions anywhere for making a round bowl, only square ones, so basically guessed. The templates were a small bowl and large dinner plate. I did find that once you start creating multiple layers, I had to trim the inside edge of the bowl sides, and the bowl bottom back by about 5cm in total. The inside fabric is a blue batik with gold "lightning" bolts, shading from light blue to purple. I put two layers of my heaviest fusible interfacing on the back, as I can't source the "Timtex" suggested on various sites (well, not at Spotlight, anyway!)

I then embellished with rust-dyed cotton, machine embroidery thread (two spools thru 1 needle); layered fibres, feathers, and bits and bobs under solvy, then free-motioned embroidered. The solvy came off pretty easily, so my "glue-pot" of solvy is filling fast. I've ordered some "Thermogauze", which hopefully will come soon, and see if that would work better.

I put another two layers of heavy fusible interfacing on the underside fabric, then put low loft batting and another couple of layers of newly purchased heavier interfacing. I then sewed the bowl into a circle with satin stitch - 2 shades of variegated blue inside, and red outside, then sewed branching lines from the outside to inside edge to stiffen it. Then hand-sewed the bottom to the inside, hand-sewed the bottom, interfacing and batting to the bottom, and satin-stitched the bottom of the bowl in.

The underside of the bowl is a totally insipid pale blue, I tried layering pieces of waste sari-silk and free-motion embroidery, but it's still yucky. Today I hope to attack it with dry-brush paint and change the colour to a darker blue, and try some stencilling on it - it's gotta be better than it is now.

FABRIC ART WORKBOOK: I'm going to start an online course working thru this book by Susan Stein in January, so have been making up a shopping list of required goodies - it would be nice if I could actually afford all the things I need, let alone want.

STOATS: Went up into the Waitakere's this morning and checked my stoatline. The Dam is overflowing with water - there was very heavy rain again last night for about 5 hours. 1 horribly dead squashed rat, and replaced 15 rotten eggs. Normally the smell of dead things doesn't bother me, but these eggs nearly made me loose it! At least 24deg up there, before midday.